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One Hand Clapping

Chris Buttery
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  • October 3, 2015
    11:30 AM
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Isn't that beautiful. That your hot as real soul panned for the Lord as a deity handsful water. I hope so. I truly. I'm. Need to give you some sad news. I think some of you already have already heard some of you know rocks and a cop. We found out not too long ago but back on September the fifteenth. Roxanne a cop went to bed at night and she didn't wake up and she attended central but she was between us and Rancho Cordova and we don't have all the details regarding him a moral service yet but I know some of you knew Roxanne a cop and she helped out at the food pantry occasionally and as soon as we do know something we will let the church family know when when that service is so I'm sorry to be the bearer of said news but Roxanna love the Lord and we have a hope that we'll get to see Roxana again and she had that hope that if she were to die before Jesus' return that he would raise her back to life again when he when he comes back. I'm I'm excited. Too with regard to the upcoming revelations seminars. You know the end of death and sorrow and suffering will come when Jesus said when this gospel of the kingdom is preached in all the world for a witness to all nations. That's our contribution to hastening the coming of Jesus sharing the word of God A men and I'm just so excited for Pastor Mike and Jan who's our Bible work here and one of our elders hope you'll be sharing. The thirteen messages in the community related to the Book of Revelation and the last days and how to be ready for Jesus soon return. You have in your bulletins those events the times you have the locations we have some brochures that are coming soon. And you'll be able to take those to your neighbors and friends and share those with them as well. These locations are kind of strategically placed around Sacramento within the now within our assigned territory if we could say that west of here moving closer toward Sacramento south of here and then just northeast of here going toward cave and so please pray for the presenters Please pray for our community as they receive the invitation and also be prying that will help you know how to invite someone in a in an affective manner. So they can come and hear these very important messages. We're going to do eight of them out in the community then all. All three programs will converge right here at sacrament a central for the remainder five presentations and then we will do a another series behind that two nights a week in the chapel choose as of Friday's. On the Book of Revelation and we'll cover some things we didn't cover and in those thirteen parts so we're very excited. Please keep that in prayer. We know Jesus is coming soon. And this is a very important day an ally in which to share share the message he's given us. I was I was just nice to see right here and he fell up here on the platform prying. I didn't mention last week but Ryan Elizabeth and many of you know they've been away they were on it when a mission trip and so rain. Elizabeth welcome back. I was so glad to have you with sorry sorry as well about what you've had to deal with with your house being broken into. But I know God has been taking care of you and has been helping and blessing you. They've just throwing themselves back into God's work. Irrespective of the setback that they've had and so I was so grateful and and by the way if you want to. If you want to hear more here a little bit more about their mission experience I believe Elizabeth are you sharing is going to be you can be sharing something during morning manna on October the seventeenth. So not next time. But the Sabbath. And you know we have morning man here at nine o'clock. I meant. I meant morning man is here at nine o'clock and then right after that a central study on the very. This class is for the children and so on. So the Lizabeth will be sharing their story of their experiences on their mission trip and please come out looking forward to hearing this. Well this morning is is the final presentation in a twelve part series and you know when when I when we share the time up here in the pulpit it seems like the series has gone on a lot longer than just twelve weeks but it is twelve. This is the twelfth message the series has is entitled The Whole Truth and we've been talking about living between two truths and today's message is entitled one the hand clapping. One hand clapping and by the way if you missed any of the presentations of course we have our CD and D.V.D. ministry you can pick up the D.V.D.'s or C.D.'s from there you can also go to our website and go to click on. Media resources. Scroll down and you'll be able to see see it under receiving the word or you'll also be able to see it on the podcasts and you can download those podcasts either a CD or D.V.D. and so we have all of that available so if you go to our website you'll be able to listen to the other messages and so if something that I say today and I shoot something today. Be sure to go back and listen to the previous message so you understand the context in which something was said. So you can review your messages review rather those messages there but it was during World War two. Winston Churchill. The the British prime minister was forced to make a very painful and difficult decision. The British Secret Service had just broken the Nazi code and he had been informed that the Germans were going to go in and bomb Coventry he had two alternatives. Number one he could evacuate the citizens down there in Coventry and save hundreds of lives. In the process at the expense of indicating to the Germans that the English had broken their code or Secondly take no action at all which would kill hundreds of people but keep the information flowing and possibly save hundreds even thousands of more lives over the long term. What would you do given a decision like that Churchill had to choose and show childe chose the latter the second the second option. Well sometimes each one of us having to face choices and sometimes those choices between two very painful realities. Let's pray that God will spare us from having to make too many of this kind often however we don't need to choose between these two difficult painful situations or choices because as we've been learning over the course of the last several months. Life is a lived between two truths true two truths that can never and cannot ever be sacrificed in moments like these we must share both truths and these truths to be kept in healthy tension to each other. Maintaining a balance as we understand God's word and truth now tension of course permeates our faith. Every biblical truth we know is balanced by another truth that seems to be moving in the opposite direction but actually isn't for example the gift of grace doesn't come without requirements without response. Freedom is not given without responsibility. So in Christ Jesus in our relationship with him as the saving relationship we have with Jesus. We have to deal with more than just one reality at a time our faith is often lived out between the two truths. Neither of which can be given. Up there. Christians have and with we've talked about this before have often wrestled with the fact that our faith gives us more than two realities two or more realities that must be held in tension to each other with firm both For example the the humanity and the divinity of Jesus Christ the sovereignty of God and the free will of man that humans are sinners and yet made in the image of God So throughout Christian history heresy has resulted not necessarily from someone wanting to be evil or to be heretical. But from someone taking a piece of the truth to an extreme and not doing justice to the other truths the complementing complementary truths as well. In reality the devil is the mastermind behind part truths but he even gets more bold by promoting half truth lies. Remember we talked about Genesis Chapter three where he he came in the guise of the serpent spoke through that serpent to Eve and he came and he preached or shared with Eve three pot truth lies. He said You shall not surely die. You shall be like God and you shall know good and evil essentially the devil was preaching the pot truth of God's grace. Apart from his justice it's OK do the thing that God has said don't do you want truly die you actually be like God and you actually know good and evil. He was preaching the truth about God's grace apart from his justice and it's important to note that the devil is sure that the pair had assured that the pair that there was no real danger in eating the forbidden fruit after she put took the fruit. He charged them with sin and then he left them condemned to be full of the pot truth of God's justice. Apart from His Grace the devil specializes in uplifting one truth a part true to the detriment of the other and hides the other uses. At times the enemy of souls always also always seeks to pit one truth against another as if they were in conflict with each other. The devil revels in dividing what God has joined and put together. The Bible says and Jesus said in John Chapter ten versity five the Scriptures cannot be wot broken the Scriptures cannot be broken. So we talked about several things that highlight the importance of believing the whole truth not just part truth but the whole truth. For example you take a sphere. You split the sphere and you through the diameter of a city and makes two opposite hobs out of the hole and the same things happen same things happen. Same thing happens when we take as the sphere of truth and we divided it creates two opposite pot truth hemispheres. Yet both parts are required to make a whole the Bible often brings two principles together revealing that they are not in opposition to each other but actually in harmony with each other. Forming the complete truth not just half truths we also talked about talked about the ellipse of truth the lips of course the stretched out somewhat like a stretched out circle like a like a football circle has one center of focus. But in the lips has to focus. Perfectly separated so that one. If one focus is pushed too far from the other that perfect eclipse no longer exists. Also if one is emphasized over the other the ellipse simply becomes two circles. No longer an ellipse. For example we get water because of this ellipse principle water doesn't exist unless you have the circles of hydrogen and oxygen that are brought together into the ellipse truth is like that truth must be looked at in the form of the lips to oppose or to ignore or under emphasize one truth against the other would make two circles destroying the ellipse. We also talked about two twin truths the Bible presents twin Dru's that are to be held in tension to each other. That's the only way for them to be completely true both ideas must be held in tension and thus in balance when we think about truth being held in tension. We can think about a stringed interest instrument for example properly attached it to the right places. The instrument can be played and played very nicely if a strings left loose music necessarily be played on that stringed instrument instrument if it's stretched too tightly the string will snap and it will break talking about living with two truths must be kept there must be kept in healthy tension to each other does not involve anxiety and it does not involve tenseness neither does it refer to uncertainty relativity or straddling the fence. None of those things. Now when you. Many of you some of you rather play a musical instrument how many hands it take to play a musical instrument. Generally speaking to takes two hands to play a musical Marilyn was playing the piano here nicely in the gentleman on the guitars and they played with their two hands you see a piano a hop a guitar a trumpet a trombone whatever the musical instrument is now you can play an instrument with one hand. That's true but the music you would play would be somewhat incomplete wouldn't. That's ride. You may have heard the question asked What is the sound of one hand clapping. Now they say it's a classic zen buddhist zen koan a koan is a paradoxical and and a total Riddle a question that has no answer. It's used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the an adequate C. of they say logical reasoning given to students to aid in in a light moment the title of today's sermon has nothing to do with Zen Buddhism just one and sure some a sewer some of those out there that might. Thinking that this morning the message does however have everything to do with the fact that believing pot trues dismissing or putting down complementary truth all living out just possible biblical truths in the life is the equivalent of clapping one hand. Like I like I read recently in a thought provoking article be where the sound of one hand clapping they where the sound of one hand clapping. You know we normally have two screens with pitches on them right now we have one hand clapping. The the projector is at the shop down in Los Angeles and will be back with a soon and so will have two hands clapping here very shortly. Paul when he taught and when he wrote he clapped with two hands ten with mitigations chapter two. If you'd be so kind. We've looked at this verse several times throughout time to get the jury in the series but take a look at what poll writes here Galatians chapter two and verse twenty elations two verse twenty. We know this verse. It says Paul says I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for made pole was clapping with two hands glaciers to twenty contains those very intriguing words you see. Presented twin trues in this particular passage that a rich theologically and must be held in healthy tension to each other. What were what are those to those twin truths being crucified with Christ and yet living for Christ and Christ living through us. You see. You are dead but you are alive and he presents these twin trues in this one passage but these twin trued speak also not just theologically but they also speak to an experience that each one of us must have in our lives. You see that means that twin truth. Must be held together in tension and thus in balance in our lives as well we had to live our lives clapping with both hands and we live in a world of competing forces each calling for our allegiance each calling for Al attention jobs and families even church in our needs they all lobby for our time individual recognition pulls against being a pot of a group that the man for excellence clashes with the desire to be accepting and also supporting the inclination to show compassion with with the fear about security. But in the Christian life twin trues don't vive for our attention. One pulling us here one pulling us there like a tug of war game being a Christian means a living in this world but then in the dissipate of the next For example we are given rest and yet we are also called to work. What did Jesus say Come unto me or you that labor in a heavy laden I will give you rest. But in Matthew twenty eight he says go there for him preach the Gospel we are both given rest and we're also given a job to do you see being a Christian gives us a lord whose name is Jesus who cold water in the hates and we if we allow him to do so. Coordinates how we keep these truths in healthy tension to each other and therefore in balance the major cause of tension is the nature of God Himself. We talked about this as well. God is bigger than we are none of our systems or our doctrines encompasses all there is to know about God I think you understand what I mean when I say that God is bigger then than anything. Our attempts to reflect his concerns or his being while extremely helpful. Often inadequate when we've said all we know to say there is always more that we cannot fathom. We may and we must share the truth that we have received about God with others. That's our calling that's why we hear what has been revealed is for our benefit still God in certain places remains hidden and by our best efforts you say the mystery of God and His purposes is retained until we reach heaven sure. And then will there will still be for the looming about God and his marvelous love and character you say. The spied our desire for things to be simplistic not simple and non confusing Yes but simplistic they are not Christians always live in between two truths because the gospel has been has placed on us placed Al footing firmly you see this healthy tension we experience as someone said is always both peaceful and creative. The tension is peaceful. Because we have been justified by faith and because we are justified by faith we have peace with God you see and the question of our allegiance to Christ has been settled and it is settled. Each and every day it's creative also because it calls us to a new experience a new life in Jesus Christ. Now they are and can be real dangers that confront each one of us when we embrace twin truths. The whole truth. One of those dangers is that not everybody will understand. We may even lose friends. Some of you have lost friends because you've accepted an embrace the whole truth. People may worry that we don't know where we really stand on some issues one side make uses of giving ground to the opposition. While the other side may say we were treated too far when long ignored biblical texts are allowed to challenge someone's one sided theology. You may be accused of being too far to the right or too far to the left I'm. Matter how unwavering you are in your commitment to truth and your desire to embrace the whole truth. Remember the story. John chapter six so many fact in there with me. You're welcome to do that. Have to six the crowds wanted to crown Jesus they they they saw the Messiah as the coming King he was going to establish His kingdom. He was going to free the Israelites from the Roman yoke and Jesus presented to them the whole truth about himself and what it means to be a follower of Jesus and those that listen to Jesus. Remember this is the time in John chapter six where Jesus said I am the bread of heaven eat my flesh drink my blood and if you don't know we know you will have no part of me. You say that we are going to have a life and I couldn't understand what Jesus was referring to the way they were it seems like they were able to grasp some of it but they didn't want to accept all of it because it shattered their hopes and their dreams about the coming Messiah you see and that's what truth does it shatters our perceived hopes and perceived dreams truth brings to us reality brings to us God's truth which truly sets us free which truly brings hope which truly brings direction to our lives and there were folk there that particular day listening listening to Jesus talk about himself being the bread of life eating His flesh but taking of his body and they they didn't they didn't want to know about it. They didn't want to understand Jesus you see your concern your concern for the whole truth may be viewed by some as slackening of commitment. I know of a pastor that was given a hard time by some in his congregation for spending Times talking about the parables of Jesus. While not talking about current events in a lot of Bible prophecy for a while and what some of these individuals fail to realize is that while it is important to know the truth of the hour. The truth of the hour in which we live it is also very crucial to know how to live during for Christ during those times in Matthew chapter seven you remember Jesus didn't say. If you know these particular things then you'll be like a house built on a rock. What did he say he said if you do these things if you know how to live then you will be like a house your spirit your house be like will be fortified on a rock and when the winds and the waves and all of these things come upon your beat upon you. The winds of doctrine and the waves of strife. YOU WON'T BE MOVED TO YOU SEE. We cannot overlook Tex all the texts we cannot overlook any tax as we seek to understand God's will in His Word dealing with the whole truth is not slackening of a commitment twin truths do not give us two masters either just to clarify that we have one master his name is Jesus Christ he said I am the way and the truth and the life that's right. The concern for embracing the whole truth is no more than a realisation as I've mentioned before that the tile in which you stand at any given minute is not the entire floor. It's an awareness of the breath and the depth of the foundations with which we find in which we find Christ. Now validity of our commitment to Christ or or the correctness of our views is not evidence in the louder one sided statements but in holiness in integrity and in obedience to God's truth dealing with the whole truth is evidence of a real commitment to truth and a confidence that truth is not going to evaporate. When other facts are known. Truth is like a flower with deep roots to enjoy very long. You must take it out entirely. However if you take only the top part cut it off. What's going to happen to the flower in your hand. Eventually it's going to wither up and it's going to die you want the whole truth. Take the whole truth you say that's one of the dangers that folk will not understand your position may not understand because they are one so. I had it all up sided and now the danger is in dealing with the whole truth is that it may lead to copping out when we look at the story of Jesus in John chapter six what ended up happening that day. Jesus revealed to People reveal to them the whole truth about what it means to follow him what it means to to be a disciple of Jesus and what was Jesus saying he was essentially saying you've got to give up your ambitions and your dreams you've got to give up these particular things that you believe you've got to embrace me as the Way the Truth and the life and to follow. I mean means you may have to give up some treasured person that character characteristic some treasured sin even in your life and when they listen to Jesus. They didn't like what he had to say and the Bible records some very sad words in John Chapter six The Bible says that they left Jesus in those sixty six from that time many of his disciples went back and what happened. They walked with Him What. They could not handle the whole truth. They did not want to they couldn't understand it they didn't want to and it led them to copping out copping out from following Jesus who was the way the truth and the life now. Some Christians can become so overwhelmed sometimes by the complexity of some of the issues that they give up finding solutions this what's this is what's behind our culture's on and off the guests off and on again interest in global in in global issues like hunger. Maybe even pollution and long running wars and so on the issues are compelling for a time but the lack of quick solutions like we see in a one ality show leaves us with feelings of despair and hopelessness biblical tension on the other hand should produce radically different results because the ultimate coherence in our lives is provided by God's grace and His Word. We don't need to despair because the creator and. The Lord of this cosmos is sovereign and because the resolution of apparent contradictions and they are apparent is obtained from following Jesus and the knowledge of His word and we won't see these things that at all odds with each other will begin to see the whole truth. How beautiful it really is there is no value friends in merely pondering the whole truth merely looking at it from a distance it must be embraced and the whole truth must be lived out in our lives. What does it mean to be free for example what does it mean to be free and responsible in my walk with God and how does this impact my performance at my job and how I handle certain problems or issues that may arise. How do you both grace and law function in my life and how do I relate to people how they relate to people around me. How should I live in this ever changing world while not being all of this world. Do people care to know about the truth that I hold near and dear to my hot because they know that I care about them. These are some tough questions we've got to ask ourselves and we've got to wrestle with and come to terms with you see each of us must live out the whole truth and the dangers with embracing the whole truth if they are real Jesus experience that some of you have experienced that it will continue to experience that but danger in dealing with simply HOF truths a much greater complementary truths friends cannot be ignored for they won't go away but to focus on the dangers of living the whole truth is as helpful as focusing on the dangers of breathing. Now biblical guidelines would be talking about some of the guidelines helping us to live these guidelines to help us live and understand what it means to live the whole truth in their lives. We've been talking about those during each of these previous ten eleven presentations. But there are three arching biblical guidelines that are the most from our study that does. Attention here and we'll do that this morning. Each is required for the health and the life and the mission of the church because I want to talk now not just simply individually but I want to step back now and talk about the life of the church we've been dealing with what it means personally but what does this mean on the on on the on a larger scale. What does it mean to us corporately as a organization as a church as Sacramento central Seventh Day Adventist Church. I want to share with you. These three arching principles and here they are number one number one practice whole thinking the Bible encourages us to practice whole thinking someone suggested even holistic thinking holistic thinking is characterized by our comprehension of truth as intimately interconnected in understood only by the reference to the whole but I'll just talk about whole thinking just for the sake of simplicity whole thinking first of all first and foremost as humble. It's humble it recognizes our incompleteness and liability to era. Humility is not always helpful when other people certainly a looking for ounces. But at least it's on us and at least it does not mislead anybody whole thinking also recognizes that no single statement can embrace the entirety of truth while someone might challenge and say Well how about the statement God is love. That is true that is a true statement. But it's multifaceted there's many things in there you see a statement may be true in a may not have all the elements that give us a complete picture of truth every statement even our most valued theological ones may require qualification and they may require explanation. Lest it be exposed to abuse. For example collations chapter three verse twenty eight. Does anyone know what that says I'll read it for you here. Galatians three Verse twenty eight Paul wrote there is neither Jew nor Greek there is me the slave nor free. There is neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus for you all one. In Christ Jesus. This is a wonderful and a powerful statement I meant is no doubt about that but it requires explanation and it must be read within its context because it has often being abused it has often been abuses take a look at the context collations chapter three will reverse is twenty six twenty seven and twenty nine notice what it says it says For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek there is neither slave nor free there is neither mount or female for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's those twenty nine then you are Abraham's seed in is according to the promise. So what is pole doing here in verse twenty eight is he obliterating the distinctions between the sexes. No he's not he's not obliterating the distinction between the sexes what he is a billet or a thing. What he's obliterating. Is valuations based upon the distinctions poll is saying it doesn't matter whether you are with us whether you're a man or woman whether you are a Jew or Greek whether you are a free you all one in Christ Jesus God views you the same as anyone else doesn't matter your status doesn't matter your your background doesn't matter your education that matter your agenda. You are all one in Christ Jesus. You see that's what Paul is talking about is not obliterating distinction between the two groups but he blitter writes valuations based on the distinctions. He was still proud of being Jewish and yet he argued for maintaining distinction between the sexes. He had no desire for women to be men or men to be women and men and men the whole truth will also cause us to look for complementary truths this is very important when we know that the statement is true we read it in the Word of God We ought to ask. Are there any limitations to that particular statement. And what other statements need to be looked at to prevent any misunderstanding or going to an extreme we have to be practiced that means in all in all the scripture to make sure we hear all of what Jesus is saying what did Jesus say in Matthew Chapter four verse four mentioned to live not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. This means will need to become practiced at studying the Word of God and rightly dividing the Word of Truth no sloppy workmanship is asked for as we study God's would we also need to learn in the context of the church to read people and situations big because the church does its work in the context the framework of the whole truth out theology and work and our mission. We must read and we need to read texts that deal. Both with the certainty of salvation and also the threat of apostasy. We must when we read text about Grace we must also read the text that referred to law faith and works. God's sovereignty and man's free will. Christ divine as well as his human nature justification and sanctification freedom and responsibility strength and weakness being in the world but not being all of the world. We must embrace all the truth. Amen amen with increasing frequency. However its critical scholars. Argue that tension within the scriptures is a sign of a later addition to the particular text now so for example a pole wrote about mutual submission which he wrote in the fusions chapter five. He says he says submit their for one to another and by the way he goes on to explain what that submission looks like within the context of the marriage relationship but where Paul says submit to one another but then later on he says he talks about authority. Some folk critical scholars will say well then the statement about mutual. Mission We like that. That's obviously inspired but his comments regarding all Thora T. we don't kind of like that. And so that must have been in addition made by someone else later on. You see and this is what happens this method of Bible study. However for God's people cannot be accepted riders in the ancient world were not simplistic and the situations they dealt with were very complex as. We all to expect these biblical tensions within a riotous thought both because of the nature of the material and the variety of the situations I had to contend with. We don't understand any right to until we have dealt with all the rider has said and have dealt with his apparent contradictions and by the way they are not contradictions they are apparent to us they might be initially until we study and we begin to see the whole truth you see the result of whole thinking will prove to be beneficial for God's last day church people will not find it necessary to separate their daily lives from their church life because with whole thinking the problems and the realities we would just as soon avoid are faced squarely Thus each of us grow as each of us grow the church is strengthened so is its purpose and so is its mission as God's people grow in Christ. So the depth and understanding of the church grows and increases along with it as well. And so number one we are to practice whole thinking that's what the Bible calls us to Jesus said man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God The second arching guideline that emerges from our study that requires the life. The health. That is required rather for the life the health and the mission of the church is the need to promote unity and the allowance for diversity let me explain the very dated characters character of the Bible requires us to speak of diversity its focus on God's relationship with his people to his people. The nces unity pole used the metaphor of a human body with his diverse parts working together to describe the unity and diversity in the church go with me to first Corinthians chapter twelve and those twelve if you'd be surprised. First Corinthians twelve and verse twelve. I know some of this is a little technical I'm hoping we can break it down a little bit here first Corinthians chapter twelve and verse twelve notice he said four as the body is one and has many members but all the members of that one body being many one body. So also is Jesus Christ. Paul said you are many members but you comprise what how many bodies just one many members one body diversity unity. You see within the church. We have a diversity of minds. We have a diversity of personalities a diversity of gifts and diversity of talents the church as someone suggested is a garden with its variety of plants and its flowers. When we think of the Bible or think of the Bible think of the Gospels in particular why is it that God inspired both Matthew both all of Matthew Mark Luke and John to write about the same story to write about Jesus. Why did it require for riotous and it wasn't just the four as you have also Paul and you have Peter and they have their pistols and they talk about Jesus and His teachings as well. You take the various authors of Scripture and they're talking about the same things. Why do we have sixty six books in the Bible would one book not have been enough because God took the different personalities the different backgrounds and experiences inspired these individuals to write these. Inspired their thoughts and they wrote these words you see and we have it from bearing perspectives but they all bring together a unity of four don't they. When you come to the Bible even though you've got sixty six books and you've got forty some all different authors there is one divine mind behind each of these authors behind each of these books and that's got. You can see it varied thoughts very personalities varied backgrounds but they all highlight and uplift the truth of God's word the whole truth. You see multiple facets of minds bring together a more complete picture of God and His plan for us. That's why it was took forty different authors. That's what was for all of us writers to write the gospels you see something embedded in human nature affirms both unity and diversity Alfred Whitehead was noted to say men require of the neighbors something sufficiently akin to be understood something sufficiently different to provoke attention and something great enough to come on admiration this world would be unpleasant and I'm pleasant place. If everyone were like oil from no one with similar enough to others in order to relate to them the whole truth with its recognition of the incompleteness of each person requires both of unity and diversity. Since we have limited knowledge and limited vision. We need the inside and the perspective of other Christians to attain wholeness Christians who know suffering who know loneliness can help others face similar challenges this is how God works this is why I put this together. This is why he brought the church together with his various members unity is a gift our unity doesn't derive from the fact that we have from the same cultural racial or educational backgrounds or from the same economic level doesn't happen that way. Churches or not be made out of this type of sameness. Nor is unity something we create unity is a gift from God It is based on NOW connection to Christ and living according to His Word and His truth you see if we are part of the Body of Christ then according to a five those thirty we are members of the body and it's interesting in the same book and if Asians have to fall verse twenty five. Paul said that we are members of each other so he says if. Part of the Body of Christ and we are members of him and then we are also members of one another to belong to Christ in fact means that we belong interesting enough to one another community. Task friends is to maintain the unity that God has given us this is accomplished by love this is accomplished by standing on truth of physicians Chapter four is a classic treatment of unity in the church which instructs us to put up with and love one another and to speak. According to verse fifteen to speak the truth in love at first glance love and truth seem to be in conflict but in fact the Bible speaks of them being all going together you see truth without love is hostile love without truth is merely emotional and sentimental truth without love is House and Christ and can be destructive. Together they preserve unity and lead us to grow in Jesus Christ. Until that perfect day until the day that Jesus comes back again you see now you must understand that unity is not uniformity where God's people are pressed to think the same thing to speak exactly the same thing and to do exactly the same thing is the ear the mouth is the hand the foot. No that's not they all have their different functions rather different roles to make the whole work as a whole diversity is just as important to the life of the church as unity God seems to relish in variety both in creation and in people all graces given to each person so that they he or she may minister and when we are given people are given as gifts to the church did you know that your gift you are a gift God has equipped with use with you in you certain gifts and talents and you then become a gift to the local church local congregation you are a gift to the church. You are equipped in a variety of ways for different ministries in the church. To accept diversity is to recognize the unique and necessary contributions of each person. Now the vision the vision. Being divisive is wrong but diversity is essential in this church there are twenty some different ministries each person sharing the gift and the talent with out children's ministries from the Sabbath school classes and then in within the Sabbath school class you've got individuals coming in telling a nature and not get to the kids and then some of playing the piano or the guitar or the telling the lesson study to share in the lesson study to the child takes very gifts and talents to do that and then you have your other ministries like men and women's ministries and media ministries and and health ministries and it requires different people doing different things in order for the church to function as a whole it takes different kinds of personalities different minds we are a garden where there are multiple flowers and plants in that god and now. When we discuss unity and we discuss diversity. It implies a parallel discussion of how to maintain individuality while belonging to a community like the church. Both are valued and there's always a movement back and forth it seems between the responsibility of the individual and his and her involvement in the community in our culture we have over emphasized the individual it was said once by one individual as he said our peril both in social politics and in religious belief is self sufficient and self conscious individual is I'm ignorant of history and on the call into affairs we have now too much individual ism what we have not is character. So we would say if it feels good do it. Irrespective of how the community feels and we forget that we are no man is an island individual ism does not work despite the emphasis on the responsibility of the individual and the emphasis on individual salvation and those things are important and they are true. We should not we should focus we should focus as much time on what it means to be a part and live together in the community. The community of faith the church ALS is a corporate structure we worship and we also work together we help each other understand the truth and we also share in the many tasks of the church. That's why I expect to see so many of you tomorrow morning at our work because we just all work together. Amen. On the other hand friends the individual is never lost in the group nor is the group to be blamed for the individual's actions insects and false religions the group is always superior to the individual and they control the individual Jim Jones and David Koresh tragedies are paying for a reminder of that in true communities on the Christian Church in this church in the Seventh Day Adventist Church the identity of both individual and community is kept in focus. Each person has the responsibility to assume responsibility to address and to support each other. If a person concludes that truth doesn't apply in his or her cat case other people in the church must bring that individual back to reality by God's grace through grace through love and through tact. If a person loses their job or they struggle with doubt the community is supposed to be a basis of support and encouragement and help the tensions in the Christian faith are an expression of both unity and diversity. And the importance of both and the an individual and of the community. So that's number two unity and diversity. Number three the third arching guideline for handling the whole truth in the church is simply accepting reality accepting the truth often people seek to avoid the reality of what it means to be human and deny its limitations. Then deny the facts the facts of their own existence. It's as if we aren't really good enough but then that attitude is as old as the Garden of Eden easy for sin when she was tempted. When she attempted to get out of life more than God had put into. And given to and often we do the same thing. At the root of sin is pride and pride requires that we be more than human pride requires we be like the most high. Someone once said that sin is a refusal to be human and in within this context I think I understand what that individual is talking about apart from a relationship from God with God human existence really doesn't have a lot to be desired as valuable as wonderful as a creation as a creation we are there is no ultimate value or meaning for any person the pot from the value that God places on them both through the fact that he's created us and that he has redeemed us through His death on the cross. But then God never intended his creation to be viewed separately from himself. We must accept the limits of our humanity and embrace the whole truth about our existence to him with some if you would some. Eight eight section of some the division of Psalm some eight verse five notice the wonderful things that God says about humanity. This is for those who might think less of themselves and they ought to some verse five notice the Bible says you have been made a little lower then what. Then the angels That's right and you have and you this talking about God has crowned him mankind with glory and on a did you get that we are we are made in the image of God and we are made a little lower than the angels and God has crowned us with glory and is also crowned us with with on it. You see now we are not animals. We are not animals and we do not come from animals Amen. But like the beasts. We all perish in this body look at some forty nine verse twelve notice how the Psalmist puts it. Some forty nine twelve. He says. Nevertheless men though in all are does not remain He is like the beasts that perish. We are. We are essentially both temporal and capable of unarmed ending a life that measures with the life of God we have a mortal body but one day God is going to give us immortality I meant no doubt about it. We are both weak and yet we are strong in God's strength. We have a limited knowledge but we have powerful and creative minds. We are subject to suffering to death to sin and the actions of others but we are capable of healing and being free and being absolutely responsible with the freedom that Jesus has given us. We have victims it's true of sin and of Satan. But recipients of redemption and by God's grace can live godly lives in this present world being human we have a variety of physical needs and drives of space food shelter and pleasure. It also means that we have less tangible but no less real needs and drives as well. Recognition meaning productivity human relationships and I vibrant and living relationship with the creator of all things none of us can live authentically while attempting to deny these realities being human is not negative. There's a lot that is done by humans. That is not Christian. There is no doubt about that there is a lot that is done by humans. That is sad and that is frankly frightening. Just think about what took place in Oregon this week but whatever is Christian reveals what humanity can become when connected to Jesus Christ friends denying our humanity or any part of it will only cause problems. As one person put it to live up to something. One is not one has to give up the little that he is in the nine what we are we lose the one value that we have our humanity that God deems precious and valuable. He said in Jerry said in Jeremiah that you are valuable and that you are precious. Sorry that was an aside you are precious and that you are valuable by God help us friends to be all that he intended us to be to do so I will have to accept our mortality. But we must also anticipate the gift of immortality when Jesus comes back we will have to accept our limitations without denying the capabilities that God has given us we will have to know what it means to be in this world yet living in anticipation for the next. Now share in human suffering cannot be denied but it can be reinterpreted as we participate in the sufferings of Jesus Christ friends we ought to live. Biblically we ought to live. Biblically to live biblically is to embrace the whole truth and to live wisely in that truth as Christians we are in the world but we are not all of it at the same time we are both saint and sinner. We are a part of the culture and in this world but we are shaped by our relationship with Jesus Christ and His unfailing word we are saved by grace and thus freed to toy Bay and to live that law by the grace that saved us we have nothing in which to boast but everything is ours in Christ we identify with both the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ we cannot work for our salvation but with salvation. We cannot stop doing the work of Christ in him we have freedom to so this is what it means to live the whole the whole truth in our lives. Knowing the whole truth allows us to live by as a whole person and to do justice to all of the everlasting Gospel far from being frustrating or destructive living biblical tension in Christ is truly peaceful and creative we explore. Hence the abundant life that Jesus said He came to give us friends Christians have the responsibility you and I as last Christians have the responsibility of holding both truth in our hands and choosing how that tension is to be lived out in our lives and in each and every single situation. The grace of God which provides the care here and say to our lives is the power by which we live the whole truth friends by God's grace. We live between two truths in closing I want to share just a little quote that I share with you in my first message here. With the in this series and it's just a simple quote and it's a prayer. It's an appeal. May God keep us from the fanaticism of the extremes and the mediocrity. Of the middle road may Jesus continue to lead us may Jesus continue to guide us may we embrace the whole truth and allow Jesus' grace to work enough both to will and to do. Of His good pleasure and that's going to be our closing song his phone number five hundred thirty seven he lead with me. We want Jesus to lead and guide us by His Holy Spirit into all truth amen and allow that whole truth to be lived out in allies let's embrace the whole truth what do you say I mean. Please stand with us even leave the church with the weak. The eat the the eat the earth the eat the eat the E.U. The E.U. The E.U. see the eat the yeast the the ego. Ye Ye Ye embrace the whole truth here this morning. All the Scripture has to say not only just accepting it feel. Logically but bringing it into your life is such a desire here this morning and let's party together Eternal Lord thank you. That the truth of God's word your word Lord is met in Jesus Christ who embraces it all he is the Way the Truth and the life and when we embrace Jesus we embrace your truth. Lord help us to not live lopsidedly help us not to be lopsided theologically help us all to emphasize one component of truth to the detriment of the other help us to be careful not to say something that would lead a person toward fanaticism or to lead them to misunderstanding your truth. Help us Lord also want to live to. Live lopsided Christian lives. Help us not to live just. Not just in the sunshine of Jesus forgiving grace but also under the power and the unction of the Holy Spirit for a sanctified life and for ministry for you. A lot. Help us to be balanced in our experience to live to be in this world. Yes but to not to be off it to embrace faith faith and works grace and law. God's sovereignty in our free will help us to embrace all of these wonderful truths. So that we might live a life that reflects your goodness and your grace a lot. Help us help us never to help us to never forget that it is by your grace that we are saved. It is by your grace that we live our lives. It is by your grace that we live for you. Brace that today. We thank you for Jesus. Thank you for his love for us. Keep us bless us. Thank you for walking with us. Thank you for your Holy Spirit that leads us and guides us and we give you praise and thanks for all of these wonderful things wonderful gifts in Jesus name we pray these things. You.


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